HP's new calculator, the HP-48SX

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Bruce Bergman @quasar

Mar 2, 1990, 6:48:49 PM3/2/90
Since no one else has posted information on the new HP handheld, I
thought I'd help out by sharing what I know about it. I am a little
surprised no one has mentioned anything about it (have I missed it?)...

Anyhow, this comes from personal, first-hand knowledge of the calc,
seeing as how I have touched and spent about four hours playing with
it. I think HP won't be too mad if I talk about, because it's expected
to be announced this next week (06-Mar, I think).

It's called the HP-48SX and looks a lot like the 42. It is NOT a fold-
out calculator. It has only one keyboard and lies just like the 42.
This may explain why the number is 48 instead of 29 or something like
the 28 series. At first, I expected to be a little hampered by not
having the extra keyboard, but after a while I didn't miss it and will
probably ignore it after a weeks use. It would be nice to have the
fold-out cover for protection, though.

The screen is eight lines and has the look of the 28S. Four of the lines
are devoted to the stack, one to menus, two to error messages and one
very small line for status information and icons (well, I call them
icons; you'll see why in a second). The status line and icon line are
very physically close together. The icons that appear are things like an
hourglass while the calculator is thinking, an alpha symbol when you have
selected the alphanumeric mode, etc. The status line says things like
where you are in the directory structure, what mode you are in (algebraic,
radians, etc) and if you are using that option, the date and time. Below
those lines are the error message lines and stack. The stack is labeled
just like on the 28S. The menu bar also resembles the 28S.

The keyboard is different than most anything else HP makes, but nothing
seemed really tough to accept. I've been a 41 junkie since the first week
they were sent out, so I accepted the concept of having to shift "into"
and "out of" alpha mode, but that isn't requiried, as you can also shift
into alpha mode for one character only. The alpha key is two keys above
the power key. Kinda like this:

| -Enter-
| a ( <-- symbol for 'alpha')
| <-| <== pointing to left hand side
| and bottom corner of calc.
| |-> (digit keys over here)
| ON

The shift keys above the ON key are like the 'f' and 'g' keys of old, but
they are now just called left and right shift. They are orange and blue
(of course) and correspond each key. A lot of the alpha keys aren't
labeled on the calc, not even on the back. You have to know them or
look them up. The whole alphabet resides on the keys on the top half
of the keyboard (all above the -Enter- row). You can get lowercase letters
by pressing <alpha><left-or-right shift><key>. A little weird, but you
can get used to it.

The calculator has several "subsystems" which HP refers to as "applications"
or something like that (sorry about some of this information -- only four
hours with a new calc and an excited reviewer leaves some thing fuzzy!).
Like the 28S, it has the ability to solve equations (the EquationSolver),
do calculus, integrals, etc. It also has a new application called the
MatrixWriter which appears to be a spreadsheet-like application, but it
"feels" like it can only be used for multiple matrix calculations. What
led me to call it a spreadsheet is it's appearance (rows, cols) and that
you can take the data from it and graph it as bar graphs or pie graphs, if
line graphs arent' interesting.

It has a time subsystem, with complete alarms and date/time functions. The
manual suggests setting an alarm for a year from the time you buy the calc
so that you can check battery life. I thought that a cute touch. If you
want, you can put a small time and date on the screen (real-time) on the
status line. Alarms can be acknowledged or not, and can store whole lines of
information along with it. You can review alarms easily. I am unclear as
to whether you can perform actions upon an alarm event.

There is a "units" subsystem which allows you to convert between many
different units (including bases) and does so kinda like the 28S. There is
another subsystem for plotting and graphics which appears to be quite
expanded. And I know the big question you are all waiting for:

Can you turn a pixel off? Sorry, I dunno. There was a sample program in
the manual which animated a little man and caused him to march across the
screen, so it appears SOME sort of better graphics are available. The
program just declared a hexvalue which described the image and then moved
the man across the screen, moving his little legs. Cute. With the
enhanced plotting features, I feel that the answer must be yes.

The plotting function is pretty cool, but I'm not sure how often I'll
do things like draw pie charts on the screen. A simple program in the
manual automated the drawing of pie charts a lot! When you solve an
equation, you can press a keystroke or 20 and get a graph of the function
on the screen. Much better resolution than the 28S, of course. It appears
that the images previously plotted are "stored" and I often hit a spurious
key and found myself plotting over the old image that I created 20 minutes
ago and thought I deleted.

Other aspects of operation are about the same as the 28S, although I am
sure I missed something that you'll undoubtedly nail me for when the
thing gets announced. Maybe someone else can fill in the blanks.

As for physical components, it includes a send and receive IR subsystem.
The intent here is to place two 48SX's facing each other and transfer
programs back and forth. Pretty darn neat! Next to the IR interface is
a four prong ugly looking connector. It is the only visible connector
when the IR/RAM card slot cover is in place. It is the interface to the
IBM-PC. I assume the connections are send, receive, request to send,
clear to send. I am unclear as to whether a special cable is needed or
if you can just hack one up. I know they are selling a connection
package for $60 which I assume must include the cable, some software
for communicating and possibly a program for editing and syntax checking
on the PC before downloading.

Below, on the bottom of the calc is two slots. They are very flat and
slightly slanted upwards into the calc. They appear to be about two inches
tall and about an inch and a half wide. These are the slots for the RAM
cards. Sorry, the 48SX doesn't take 41C modules... RAM cards are
available in two sizes: 32K and 128K. The 32K card costs $80 and the
128K card costs $240. The base 48SX comes with 32K RAM/256K ROM and
the ability to expand up to 288K RAM. The RAM cards can be used in one
of two ways: as seamless contiguous memory and as partitioned memory
(kind of like different disk drives or mounted partitions). The most
common use of the RAM card (in my opinion) will be as a backup device
for the memory. I intend to buy one just for this purpose.

You can have two RAM cards in the 48SX at one time, and both must be of
the same memory configuration (e.g., you can't mix seamless with the
separate partitions). The RAM cards are battery-backed-up and are good
for about a year once the battery has been installed. It uses a little
flat calculator/photo battery. Oh, the 48SX itself uses three AA batteries
in the bottom of the calculator.

Also available will be a RAM card which allows one to emulate the 41CV
(or, I assume, its later cousins). I don't remember the price. There
is also a "demo card" which does something for $15. I would guess that
more RAM card applications will become available soon. There was no mention
of printers, so I assume it must work directly with the IR printer.

The PC link is controlled by Kermit, and includes a full Kermit protocol
implementation, including a new mode called "archive" mode. If you don't
want to buy a RAM card for backup, you can archive your calculator into
the PC via the link. Sorry, I couldn't find information about how fast
the transfer rate is, but heck, we're talking only 288K here. You can
also selectively upload files or programs.

The manuals are divided into two Owners manuals and there is a reference
to a programming guide, but I didn't find one. It could be something that
they didn't include to some testers. The owners guide is divided into a
manual for usage and for the subsystems and one for programming and
advanced topics. I noticed HP is still going away from the concept of
RPN (much to my dismay) and while you can still program and calculate in
the RPN style, most, if not all, of the examples were in algebraic notation
and included parenthesis, et al.

The whole package (manuals, calc, whatever) is typical high HP quality and
the calculator feels really comfortable in your hand. It seems a little
heavy, but that is probably due to the case and the AA batteries. The LCD
is easy to read, just like the 28S. No backlight, tho. ;^)

EduCalc is taking orders. They expect delivery of their first shipment
in mid-to-late March, while everyone else I've talked to is expecting
delivery in May. The list price will be $350 and the EduCalc price is
$274.95. They also want $195.00 for the 128K RAM card. They know less
about the calc than you do (now) and have only heard of the calc and
the one RAM card. They expect to get more information and announce it
in their next catalog (probably May).

I bought mine -- when are you going to get yours?! :^)

Hope you folks found this informational. Sorry about the sloppy english
and spelling; I'm just too lazy today to fix it and figured y'all wouldn't
mind when it comes to rumors.


att! \ crash!--\ TeleSoft (bru...@telesoft.com)
ncr-sd! \ \ 5959 Cornerstone Court West
>--ucsd!---->--telesoft!bruceb (Bruce Bergman N7HAW)
nosc! / / San Diego, CA. 92121-9891
ucbvax!/ uunet!--/ (619) 457-2700 x123
All opinions are my own. Have you hugged your horse lately?

Jake G Schwartz

Mar 3, 1990, 3:18:30 PM3/3/90
Okay, now that the cat is obviously out of the bag.....

The New Hewlett-Packard HP48SX:
A Calculator for the Computer Age

On March 6th, 1990, Hewlett-Packard announces the HP48SX, the much-
rumored new top-of-the-line scientific calculator to take the place of the
HP41 series as the "king of the hill." This $350 (list price) unit
contains as much RAM (32K bytes) and twice the ROM (256K) as the HP28S.
The super-twisted nematic LCD is 64 by 131 dots, allowing up to 8 lines of
22 characters of text to be displayed. The CPU is the familiar Saturn
chip (used in virtually everything from the HP71B in 1984 up to the present)
running at 2 megahertz. This is twice the speed of the '28S, although
throughput is estimated by HP to be only 50 percent faster due to
increased overhead. The keyboard is HP42S-like, with two additional 6-key
rows on top, totalling 49 keys including gold, blue and ALPHA shift keys.
Key labelling is a white primary function on the key, gold and blue
shifted functions above the key and a white ALPHA symbol to the right of
the key. The ALPHA keyboard contains gold shifted and blue shifted symbols
but they are omitted from the calculator face so as to reduce clutter.

As far as expandability is concerned, there are two ports on the back
for plug-in cards. At introduction, HP is offering 32K RAM cards for $79.95
and 128K RAM cards for $250, both with battery backup. ROM cards will
come in the same sizes as RAM, with the first two offerings being a 128K
"Solver Equation Library" card (latest rumored price - $99.95) and a
Surveying Card (size and price yet unknown). Up to 256K bytes of RAM/ROM
may be plugged in at any one time. This gives a total of 544K, however
since the address space of the CPU is limited to 512K, a 32K block of the
operating system and the built-in 32K RAM block are bank-switched. This
288K RAM upper limit represents a nine-fold increase over 28S memory and
an approximate 120-fold increase over the RAM in the HP41 with full main
memory (or 40 times the HP41 with full extended memory). In addition,
customizable one-time programmable "OTP" cards will be available as well.

On top of the HP48 under the port cover is a pair of bulbs for two-way,
2400-baud wireless (infrared) communications capabilities. As well as
being able to use the HP82240A/B infrared printer for hard copy, the unit
will talk with another HP48 and can also receive printer output from the
other HP handhelds with IR output (with the aid of additional software
available from HP). In addition, another 4-pin connector attaches to an
optional cable which facilitates serial uploading and downloading at 1200,
2400, 4800 or 9600 baud to/from a computer. Hewlett-Packard is also
starting up a free computer bulletin board system to support the handhelds.
All you pay for are the phone calls to Corvallis, Oregon.

The calculator comes with a carrying case, two-volume User's Guide
and quick reference guide. An extensive Programmer's Reference Manual in
the works is scheduled for a Summer release. The User's Guide is over 850
pages long and steps through the major aspects of the machine with
examples along the way. At the very beginning is an extensive step-by-
step demonstration of many of the new, powerful features. Reading
further, it quickly becomes evident that "this is NOT your father's HP
calculator!" In fact, there are probably as many features on the HP48 that
represent improvements over the HP28 as the HP28 has over the HP41. A
rough list of over a hundred items was generated after only a single pass
through the manual.

In addition to the HP28-like menus and top-row soft keys, the '48
allows complete keyboard redefinability through key assignments. There
are slots inside the plastic side edges of the machine to hold a keyboard
overlay. Up to six possible assignments per key may be simultaneously
active - the primary key, gold-shifted, blue-shifted, ALPHA-shifted, ALPHA
plus gold-shifted and ALPHA plus blue-shifted positions. While in HP41-
like USER mode (or alternately in HP71B-like "1USR" mode) the unassigned
keys may be designated to have either their standard functions or be
totally disabled. Keys may be assigned either manually or under program
control. The custom menu capability on this machine is also greatly enhanced.
The system-reserved object CST holds the custom menu; and a different CST
may reside in each and every subdirectory in RAM. Also custom menu labels
may be named differently than the objects they evaluate. Finally, the
custom menu may contain different primary, gold-shifted and blue-shifted
assignments in each key position.

The built-in functions of the HP48 are organized differently than on
the HP28C/S, presumably to save positions on the actual keyboard. While
the 28 has roughly 23 menus accesible directly from the keyboard, the '48
places only 16 main menus on key positions, with several of these
containing submenus. (There exist approximately 70 menus on this machine,
all told.) A new convenient feature to identify whether a menu key label is
a pointer to another submenu is the appearance of a single short horizontal
bar in the LCD above the label. This carries through to RAM subdirectory
labels as well; a badly needed feature missing on the HP28. Since 15
popular log, trig and exponential functions reside directly on the
keyboard on key row number 4, the LOGS and TRIG menus of the HP28 are
eliminated. Most of the math functions are located on 6 submenus under
the "MTH" menu key. Programming functions formerly on the HP28's CONTRL,
BRANCH and TEST menus hide in the HP48 submenus of the same names under
the "PRG" key. Other menu keys on the upper keyboard do things like
printing, I/O, memory management and display modes. Lower down on rows 6
and 7 are six more menu keys SOLVE, PLOT, ALGEBRA, TIME, STAT and UNITS.
(Yes, this machine has clock, calendar and alarm functions.) These all
lead to other submenus on the way to the remaining hidden functions.

The UNITS area is radically changed from the HP28S 1-unit-per-screen
philosophy to something closer to that on the HP19B financial machine.
The units are organized into categories (LENGTH, AREA, VOLUME, TIME, etc.)
with multipage menu choices underneath. Pressing a specific unit key
attaches that unit to the value in stack level 1 to create a unit object.
(The HP48 handles all the HP28 object types, plus nine new ones.) Thus,
if a 1 is in the stack and the "FT" key is pressed, the "1_ft" object is
generated as a result. At this point, pressing another length unit
will automatically convert from feet to the other unit and show the
correct numerical unit object (such as 12_in). Several other unit-
conversion features exist which are too numerous to mention here.

The solver environment is enhanced in a number of ways. First, the
REVIEW key allows one to review all the equations in the current RAM
directory at a glance, with paging down through those which don't fit in
the initial display. In addition to the solver menu variable keys
allowing input to and solving for the individual variables, one can also
recall the value of an individual variable to the stack if desired.Also
there is a simple way to simultaneously view the current value of all the
variables in the solver equation at any time.

Plotting has had major revision, not the least of which is the new
larger LCD on which to draw graphs. An interactive plotting menu
(which turns on or off in graphics mode) allows among other things, zooming,
scale changes, axis labelling, and root and intersection solving (with the
coordinates of the point in question displayed at the bottom of the
screen). Text may be added from the stack to the graphics picture in 3
different sizes. The screen memory is always present with the capability
to alternate back and forth between graphics and stack display mode.
Eight different types of plots (function, conic section, bar chart, scatter-
gram, parametric, "truth" plots, polar and histogram plots) may be drawn.
Lastly,and possibly most significantly, the graphics "picture" in RAM may
be larger than the 131 by 64 LCD itself, with its size only limited by
available memory. Once the PICT object size is defined, plots may be
drawn and LCD-sized portions may be viewed, zoomed, etc. However, when the
interactive plot menu is deactivated, the keyboard cursor keys magically
transform into window-moving keys, allowing dynamic manipulation of the
display like a window over the graphics picture. Additional HP software
allows the full-sized plot to be sent over the serial port to an 80-column
Epson-compatible printer or uploaded to a computer and converted to tag
image file (TIFF) format for displaying on full-sized PC screens or
incorporation into desktop publishing documents.

Through either the wired or wireless serial ports, uploading of objects,
directories or the entire contents of RAM may be performed via the calculator's
built-in Kermit protocol. Sending data in binary mode is fast and compact,
however using ASCII mode in conjunction with a PC allows the information to
be read and modified on the computer. Software development takes a step
forward by allowing the developer to do all his or her initial work on the
computer keyboard and screen before downloading to the HP48 for testing.

While programming the HP48, users of the HP28C and HP28S will pretty
much feel at home. Virtually all the HP28 programming concepts are retained
in the new machine, with the addition of features like the CASE construct,
more user and system flags and various others. The 1987 HP28C introduction
had only a relative handful of people switching from HP41 "FOCAL" language
to the newer RPL, but most considered this non-I/O, non-expandable unit to
be merely a temporary tangent from the main stream. Then a year later, the
intro of the HP28S with its greatly expanded RAM turned proportionately more
peoples' heads. It still seemed however, that the majority of users resisted
learning RPL. Now that the HP41 is history and the HP48SX far exceeds
anything else in capability, it is my feeling that the rest of the HP
calculator user community will suddenly begin to sit up and take notice. A
large percentage will be learning RPL and its new user interface for the
first time on the HP48. To the old RPL hands, the neophytes will seem two
steps behind, but finally there will be a good reason to take RPL seriously.
The good old days may return not necessarily with users training other users
in synthetic programming and advanced concepts but with introducing the
nuances of the unlimited-height RPN stack, of algebraics, plotting, arrays
and lists, etc. It shall indeed be interesting in the next several months.

Jake Schwartz

Jake G Schwartz

Mar 3, 1990, 3:25:00 PM3/3/90

HP48 Improvements over the HP28S
(A rough list in no special order)

1. I/O - Via serial cable- 1200, 2400, 4800 or 9600 baud.
2. I/O - Built-in Kermit protocol for objector directory transfer to and
from computers.
3. LCD - 8 lines by 22 characters, 64 by 131 dots.
4. Expandibility - 2 ports for plug-in RAM, ROM or OTP cards
5. I/O - 2-way infrared at 2400 baud. HP48 to HP48 comm. Other units IR
output to HP48 via software included in HP82208/HP82209 Serial
Interface Kit.
6. Keyboard - Single vertical-format keyboard. Hold in one hand and press
keys with the other.
7. Size - Narrower; easier to hold than the HP28, taller; approximately
the size of HP41 with card reader attached.
8. LCD - A bit easier to read than HP28 (bluish on yellowish)
9. Keyboard - ALPHA on same keyboard like HP41.
10. Keyboard - 2 shift keys - 3 functions per key plus 3 ALPHA functions
per key (with most ALPHA shifted not shown)
11. Keyboard - 15 common trig, log and exponentials on primary keyboard.
12. Keyboard - Left-shifted functions SWAP, DROP and GRAPH may be accessed
from the keyboard as primary unshifted functions in "normal" stack
13. General - 20 object types versus 11 in HP28S.
14. Documentation - 850-plus page user manual, quick reference guide
included with reference manual in the works.
15. General - Several messages and prompts to aid the user.
16. Memory - 32K RAM, 256K ROM built in. Add up to 256K of RAM or ROM
via plug-in cards. Max RAM is 288K.
17. Memory - RAM cards have battery backup with HP48 alerting user if
battery is low.
18. Memory - User can archive object, directory contents or whole machine
onto RAM card(s).
19. CPU - Saturn chip, 2 MHz, throughput approx. 50 percent higher than
28S according to HP.
20. Keyboard - "Last" functions: Command, Stack, Arg, Menu
versus Command, Undo, Last on HP28
21. General - Interactive stack editor mode for manually manipulating and
viewing the stack.
22. General - Equation Writer mode - Interactive graphic algebraic equation
entry, with connection to the RULES menu (equivalent to HP28 FORM
23. General - Interactive matrix editor mode - allows editing matrices in
a spreadsheet-like environment.
24. Statistics - Best curve fit of Linear, Log, Exponential, Power fits in-
25. General - "REVIEW" mode for equations, variables, etc.
26. General - Rectangular to Polar conversion with 2-dimensional OR
3-dimensional vectors. 3D polar works in spherical or
cylindrical coordinates.
27. General - Complex number entry may be either rectilinear like the 28S
using parentheses, or polar like the 42S with the range and angle
on same line.
28. General - Decimal to fraction conversion via ->Q, ->Q#
29. General - Sigma notation (in equation writer mode) and execution.
30. General - "Where" function. ("f(x) where x equals....)
31. General - ARRY->, STR->, LIST-> replaced by OBJ-> function.
32. General - BYTES functions lists size and checksum of objects.
33. Units mode - Better than HP28... all units accessible via menus with
instant conversions by one button press.
34. Units mode - New UNITS object type attaches units to value for better
manipulation in stack, algebraics, programs, etc.
35. Time - Clock, calendar, appointments built in. Appointment calendar
program available in HP Serial Interface Kit. Stopwatch
functionality available through HP Serial Interface Kit.
36. Time - Alarm catalog mode for editing and reviewing.
37. General - TAGGED object type for labelled output.
38. General - DIRECTORY object type for aiding in moving whole
directories through RAM.
39. General - GRAD angular mode in addition to DEG and RAD.
40. General - Objects of like type may be organized for review or formed
into separate lists.
41. Solver - REVIEW and edit capability of all equations at a glance.
42. General - Increment and Decrement real objects capability added.
43. Solver, Plotter - EDEQ ("edit equation") added for direct equation
44. General - Implied multiplication allowed in equation writer mode.
45. Solver - Equation catalog maintained.
46. Solver - SOLVR menu may be customized to include other types of
functions frequently used in conjunction with the equation.
47. Solver - Multiple equations may be "linked" in the solver environment
for solution together.
48. Menus - When a menu key is a pointer to a submenu, the key label
contains an extra horizontal bar of dots above it as a visual
49. Solver - In the SOLVR menu, the keys have 3 functions: (1)Pressing
the key enters the value into that variable from the stack;
(2)Pressing left shift and key label solves for that variable;
(3)Pressing right shift and key label recalls the variable's
value to the stack.
50. Integration - Addition of symbolic integration by pattern matching
for many integrands besides polynomials.
51. Menus - In the RULES (old HP28 FORM) menus, several functions have
shifted positions to add to functionality.
52. Time - alarms are of two types: (1)Appointment and (2)Control alarms
like that on the HP41.
53. LCD - In upper annunciator area, the full path to the current RAM
subdirectory is always displayed.
54. Menu - In spite of LCD being 6 dot columns narrower, HP48 does a
better job to fit 5 chars in menu labels than the HP28.
55. Menu - In VAR (RAM) menus, each key has 3 functions: (1)pressing
primary key causes object to be evaluated; (2) pressing the
right shifted key causes value of object to be recalled to the
stack; (3) pressing the left shifted key causes storage of stack
level 1 into the object.
56. Flags - 64 user and 64 system flags versus 30/34 for HP28S.
57. Flags - RCLF/STOF works with a LIST of 1 or 2 binary numbers for
system or both system and user-flag review.
58. Menu - The MENU function accepts value of 0 to 59 rather than only 1
to 24 for HP28S. Plus, adding a decimal fractional value dictates
which PAGE of menu should be displayed (e.g. 33.1 MENU takes you
to menu 33, first page).
59. Menu - Temporary menu ("TMENU") is a temporary custom menu that may
be created and used for a short time, after which the regular
CST (custom) menu returns active.
60. General - Programmable OFF command added. If encountered in a program,
the unit autostarts at the step immediately following the OFF step
when turned back on.
61. Printing - Compatibility with both HP82240B and HP82240A infrared
printers. ("OLDPRT" maps HP48 chars into old printer char set.)
62. Printing - Printing is possible to the serial port for serial 80-column
printers. Graphics objects may be printed to Epson-compatible
printers with software in the HP Serial Interface Kit.
63. I/O - ARCHIVE/RESTORE allows all of calculator RAM to be
saved/restored to/from a PC.
64. I/O - Low-level serial I/O commands available for other I/O use.
65. Memory - RAM card battery may be changed while plugged into HP48 so
contents are not erased.
66. Memory - RAM cards have a Read Only/ Read-Write switch to protect
contents if necessary.
67. Memory - Backup objects may reside in Port 0 (main RAM), or Port 1 or
2 (RAM cards).
68. Units - All units of the HP28S are included plus HA (hectares) and 25
additional commonly used compound units (such as cm, mm, ft^2,
69. LCD - A menu is ALWAYS up, in addition to 4 lines for the stack.
70. LCD - At top is a two-line status area, plus annunciators above that.
71. Graphics - Any number of equations may be plotted simultaneously via
an input LIST of plot equations.
72. Graphics - User may easily ZOOM in on an existing plot.
73. Graphics - Plot area may be larger than the screen, in a virtual
graphics memory area whose size is limited only by available RAM.
(One bit per pixel is used for storage.) Real-time scrolling of
the graphic image in the display may be done via the cursor keys.
74. Graphics - both graphics and text may coexist in memory and user can
switch back and forth between them.
75. Graphics - several plot capabilities - CONIC, TRUTH, PARAMETRIC, BAR,
76. Graphics - Interactive graphics mode - for drawing boxes, lines,
points, arcs, etc.
77. LCD - Time and date may be in the display at all times if desired.
78. Graphics - capability to turn on or off any pixel, as well as to test
state of a pixel, OR, XOR pixels.
79. Graphics - new GRAPHICS object type added.
80. Graphics - System flag -30 allows optional plotting of both sides of
an equation at the same time.
81. Graphics - Move cursor near an intersection, press ISECT and the
coordinates of point are computed and displayed.
82. Graphics - Move cursor near a root, press ROOT and coordinates of
root of the function is computed and displayed.
83. Solver - The solver variables may contain unit objects.
84. LCD - DISP function accepts a line number of 1 through 7, leaving the
menu line unaffected.
85. LCD - FREEZE function allows freezing specific areas of the display
during program execution.
86. LCD - INPUT command prompts for input during a halted program with
several display options. Stack is protected; ENTER continues
program execution.
87. Keyboard - Key assignments are possible on the HP48, with up to 6
assignments per key (primary, left-shifted, right-shifted,
ALPHA, left-shifted ALPHA, right-shifted ALPHA).
88. Keyboard - While keys are assigned, the unassigned keys may
optionally have their standard functions disabled.
89. Custom Menu - "CST" is the custom menu reserved object name. A
different CST object may exist in each and every subdirectory
in RAM.
90. Custom Menu - The custom menu key labels may be optionally designated
to be different from the names of the objects that the keys
91. Custom Menu - The custom menu keys may each have up to 3 functions
(Primary, left-shifted and right-shifted functions), although
only the primary function would be labelled in the display.
92. Keyboard - Multiple custom menus are possible in any subdirectory
while having the currently desired custom menu object named CST.
93. Keyboard - several functions exist on the right-shifted keyboard of
the HP48 which are not labelled, such as CRDIR on the
blue-shifted PURGE key.
94. Keyboard - The HP48 contains slots inside the outer plastic edges of
the keyboard to hold a keyboard overlay.
95. Keyboard - The lower-case ALPHA letters are accessable via the
left-shifted ALPHA keys.
96. Keyboard - Both numbers and letters are active simultaneously on the
primary ALPHA keyboard without shifts.
97. Keyboard - The {, [, (, and << keys have become {}, [], () and <<>>
keys, placing both symbols into the display along with the
insert cursor in between so no unpaired delimiters are
accidentally created.
98. Keyboard - The cursor keys are dedicated primary key functions, which
are accessible at all times.
99. General - "UP" and "HOME" functions on dedicated keys allow movement
in user RAM subdirectories with greater ease.
100. Menu - In addition to NEXT and PREV functions, the right-shifted PREV
moves the user to the first page of the current menu.
101. Programming - DBUG function automaticaly starts a program object
running and halts it at the first step for SSTing.
102. Programming - SST| function allows SSTing through subroutine objects
called inside of a single-stepped program.
103. Programming - Addition of the CASE construct - as a multiple-way
branch based on specific logical conditions.
104. Programming - The editor environment allows optionally placing whole
control structures into a program in one key press. For example,
in the editor pressing IF places IF in the program, but pressing
right-shifted IF places IF/THEN/ELSE/END on four consecutive
lines and leaves the insert cursor just to the right of the IF
105. Programming - In the SST/DBUG mode, pressing the top-row menu key
labelled "NEXT" causes the next 1 or 2 program objects to be
previewed in the status area without executing them.
106. Programming - PROMPT function halts a running program and displays a
message. The stack may be manipulated at this point, and
pressing CONT resumes program execution.
107. Programming - the WAIT function, in addition to instructing the HP48
to suspend a program for an amount of time in seconds, may also
optionally be used to wait until a key is pressed on the
keyboard, returning the keycode.
108. Programming - DOERR function allows a user-defined error condition
to be created so as to be trapped by the IFERR construct.
109. I/O - Graphics objects which have been sent to a PC may be converted
to TIFF (Tag Image File Format) format for displaying on the
screen or incorporating into other PC documents via software
supplied in the HP Serial Interface Kit.
110. Graphics - Text may be added to the graphics picture at the user-
specified coordinates in any of three text sizes (menu label size,
orignal HP28 size and new HP48 stack size). Characters may be
ORed with existing picture, XORed with the picture, overwrite
it, etc.
111. Graphics - Graphic objects may be placed onto other graphics objects
at the user-specified coordinates via the REPL, GOR, GXOR functions.
112. General - A substring or sublist may be substituted into another string
or list at the user-specified position via the REPL function.
113. General - Revised RND function which rounds value in stack level 2 ac-
cording to digit number is level 1. New TRNC function truncates the
value in level 2 similarly to RND.
114. General - User-defined functions may be defined algebraically and stored
via the new DEFINE function. This is equivalent to defining using
the program structure which takes arguments from the stack and places
them into temporary variables with the "->" command.
115. Menu - New RCLMENU function returns the number corresponding to the
current page of the currently displayed menu (see item 58 above).
116. Graphics - After selecting an X-axis display range, the new function
AUTO will evaluate the current equation at 40 equally spaced x
values in the X range and choose an appropriage Y axis scale.
117. Graphics - The new DRAW function will draw lines between plotted points
on the graph.
118. Graphics - One may have the graphics cursor (in the manual graphics
environment) alternately be always dark, or to be dark on a light
background or light when over a dark background.
119. General - When entering a matrix into the command line (as opposed to
the Matrix Writer), after entering the first line and stepping past
the inside closing row delimiter, no more delimiters are needed.
The delimiters are all added automatically when all data has been
entered and ENTER has been pressed.
120. Graphics - Graphics objects may be printed to the HP82240 printer.
Those objects which are wider than 166 columns across are printed
in sections separated by a dashed line.
121. Display - Individual numbers in the stack are displayed with commas sep-
arating every three digits.

Jake Schwartz

Jake G Schwartz

Mar 3, 1990, 3:27:30 PM3/3/90

HP48 UP Key For Built-In Menus

The folks at HP took a lesson from the 28S and gave us the badly-
needed "UP" function on the HP48 keyboard for moving from a RAM subdirectory
to its parent directory. However several of the built-in (ROM) menus in the
machine are nested in a tree structure as low as three levels deep. The
user manual on page 56 advises that one doesn't traverse these like a tree;
one should simply go to the new one. In many cases, this requires more than
a keystroke or two.
The HP48 has a function RCLMENU which returns a value containing the
number (in its integer part) and page (in its 2-digit decimal fractional
part) of the currently displayed menu. (See page 697 of the user manual
for the complete list of numbered menus.) We may utilize RCLMENU in con-
junction with UPDIR (the programmable version of the keyboard UP function)
to traverse the built-in menu trees as well as the RAM subdirectories.
Here is a short routine called UP which allows automatic movement from
a RAM or ROM menu to its parent (if one exists), and which is based on a 59-
element list called PARENT. Element n of the list has the value of the
menu number and page of the parent corresponding to menu n for menus 1
through 59. (Since menu 0 is the LAST menu, it is not considered to be the
current menu for purposes here.) Note that if the parent menu key leading
to the currently displayed menu is on a page beyond page 1 (such as in the
UNITS submenus which have parents in pages 1 through 3 of the main UNITS
menu), this routine will return to the correct originating page of the
parent. For menus which do not have a parent, the list element is 0,
allowing the UP routine to perform a LAST MENU function rather than alter-
nately being a "do nothing" condition.
IF UP is assigned to the UP keyboard key, its use becomes transparent
when the HP48 is in USER mode. In the first weeks of calculator use, ROM
menu tree traversal is helpful in order to get a feel for where the
literally hundreds of functions reside in the machine.

Jake Schwartz
135 Saxby Terrace
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003

609-751-1310 home
609-866-6268 work

PARENT (59-element list) 443 bytes #755Dh checksum

{ 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 3 3 0
10 10 10 10 10 10 0 0 18 0
0 0 0 0 24 24 24 0 0 29
0 31 32 0 0 35 35 37 35 0
40.04 0 42 42 42 42 42 42 42.02 42.02
40.02 40.02 42.02 42.02 42.03 42.03 42.03 42.03 42 }

UP 78.5 bytes #3F92h checksum

IF 2 ==


If the current The action of
menu is: UP is:
Menu with no LAST MENU

Menu with a Moves to parent
parent menu, page of
parent key

RAM directory UPDIR

Custom Menu LAST MENU

Note: if the current menu is one of the manually-entered unnumbered ones,
RCLMENU returns the value of the last numbered menu that was active. Thus,
UP will move to the parent of THAT menu.

Jake Schwartz

Jake G Schwartz

Mar 3, 1990, 3:31:42 PM3/3/90

An HP48SX Stack Display Utility
For Up To Ten Levels

The HP48SX calculator LCD display contains 64 by 131 pixels and is pro-
moted as being an 8-line display. However, in very few instances do eight
lines of information actually appear at any one time. (The Matrix Writer
application mode is one of the exceptions.) In general, we see two status
lines, four stack lines plus a single menu key line, totalling seven.
Occasionally, it would be useful to be able to utilize the entire display to
show the stack when there are greater than four levels of depth; and the
extensive graphics capability of the HP48 allows us to do just that.

In graphics mode, we may write text from objects in the stack at any
specified coordinates in the graphics picture and in any of three text
sizes. Size 3 corresponds to the large 5 by 9 characters which are used in
the normal stack display; size 2 is the familiar 5 by 7 size of the
characters found in the HP28 display and also used to show HP48 error
messages and prompts at the top of the LCD; and size 1 represents the 3 by 5
characters which appear in the line-1 menu labels. For stacks of 8 levels
or less, stack values in the graphics display may be nicely displayed using
the size-2 characters. If the stack contains 9 levels or more, size-1
characters will allow up to 10 rows of the stack to be shown at once.

The following stack-view program STKV allows viewing up to ten levels
of the stack simultaneously in the graphics picture. The original display
mode, plot parameters, RPN stack values and graphics picture are all
preserved. To run the program, press the STKV key in the VAR menu. After a
few seconds the stack is displayed up to 10 levels. The system remains
halted until ATTN is pressed, after which the program resumes to restore the
original PPAR and PICT. Each line of the stack is labelled with its level
number followed by a colon. These level identifiers are generated inside
the main loop via the CHR function, which converts a character number to the
corresponding string character. The value 48 becomes a zero, 49 a one, etc.
As a result, the line 10 identifier (generated by doing 58 CHR in the loop)
turns out to be a colon, but is left alone to save precious execution time.

Jake Schwartz

Program listing:

STKV 351 bytes, checksum #D7C2h

<< PICT RCL PPAR -> pict ppar ; Save original PICT and PPAR
<< PICT PURGE ; Purge original graphics picture
1 32 XRNG 1 64 YRNG ; Set new X and Y ranges for stack
1 DEPTH 1 - 10 MIN DUP ; Determine current stack height
IF 8 > ; If greater than 8,text row height
THEN 6 1 ; is 6 and text size is 1
ELSE 8 2 ; Otherwise, text row height is 8
END -> rowht tsize ; and text size is 2
<< FOR I PICT 1 I rowht * ; Loop for the no. of stack levels:
R->C I 48 + CHR ; Build stack level identifier
":" + ; Attach a colon to identifier
tsize ->GROB GOR ; Add identifier to picture
PICT rowht 2 / I rowht * R->C ; Compute coordinates,
I 2 + PICK ; Get stack value,
tsize ->GROB GOR ; And add to picture
NEXT ; End loop
{ } PVIEW ; Turn on GRAPHICS, halt until ATTN
ppar 'PPAR' STO pict PICT STO ; Restore original PPAR and picture

Juri Munkki

Mar 4, 1990, 1:25:33 PM3/4/90
In <27...@cup.portal.com> Jak...@cup.portal.com (Jake G Schwartz) writes:
>5. I/O - 2-way infrared at 2400 baud. HP48 to HP48 comm. Other units IR
> output to HP48 via software included in HP82208/HP82209 Serial
> Interface Kit.

What's the difference between HP82208 and HP82209 or are they the same
thing? I'd like to interface to a Macintosh, but it really doesn't matter
as long as the calculator has kermit.

| Juri Munkki jmu...@hut.fi jmu...@fingate.bitnet I Want Ne |
| Helsinki University of Technology Computing Centre My Own XT |

Jake G Schwartz

Mar 5, 1990, 8:02:18 PM3/5/90
For the individual who asked about the difference between the HP82208 and
the 82209, the 82208 is for PC compatibles and the 82209 is for the Mac.
Jake Schwartz
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